Archive for Steve Cropper

Donald “Duck” Dunn, R.I.P.

Posted in News with tags , , , , on May 14, 2012 by 30daysout

Donald “Duck” Dunn

Bassist Donald “Duck” Dunn, whose swampy thick bottom grooves anchored many classic soul hits from the 1960s, has died at the age of 70. He was on a tour of Japan with his friend and former bandmate in Booker T. and the MGs, Steve Cropper.

Dunn was an integral part of the Memphis soul sound as bassist for the MGs, the house band for Stax and Volt records. He died Sunday morning after finishing two shows at the Blue Note Night Club in Tokyo, Cropper said in a posting on his Facebook page.

He played with Muddy Waters, Sam and Dave, Freddie King, Otis Redding, Eric Clapton and Rod Stewart among many others. Dunn played bass on the Stevie Nicks/Tom Petty duet “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” and was a member of Levon Helm’s RCO All-Stars.

With Cropper, Dunn played on tour with the Blues Brothers (John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd). In the 1980 movie The Blues Brothers Dunn played himself and was famous for drawling the line “We had a band powerful enough to turn goat piss into gasoline!”

Donald “Duck” Dunn obituary in the Memphis Commercial Appeal

MP3: “In The Midnight Hour” by Wilson Pickett

MP3: “Nobody’s Fault But My Own” by Otis Redding

MP3: “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” by Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty

MP3: “Everybody Needs Somebody To Love” by the Blues Brothers

MP3: “Time Is Tight” by Booker T. and the MGs

Your Sister’s (Record) Rack: Woodshedding at Woodstock

Posted in Rock Classics! with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 13, 2010 by 30daysout

Editor’s Note: We are expanding this feature for this week only, to help call attention to Record Store Day on Saturday.  Independent record stores are dying on the vine, go out on Saturday and show ‘em that you love them by purchasing some vinyl.

Today we travel about 1,500 miles to the hamlet of Woodstock, New York, comfortably situated in the rustic Hudson Valley north of the Big Apple.  Now this isn’t the place where the big Woodstock festival took place (that was in Bethel, about 40 miles to the northeast) – the town of Woodstock is a haven for artists, musicians and the like.  One of the town’s most famous residents is Levon Helm, best known as the drummer for the Band.

The stories are rock legend: about the Band backing Dylan as he went “electric” in the mid-1960s, how a discouraged Helm quit, how the group reunited with Dylan in Woodstock, then finally how Helm rejoined and recorded the landmark Music From Big Pink.  By 1975, Levon Helm was a big-time rock star.  He had just married a young lady he first met while working in L.A., and he moved back to bucolic Woodstock to make his permanent home. On his 20-acre homesite, Helm built a huge timber-framed barn with only wooden pegs and locally quarried bluestone.  Overlooking a bass-filled lake and shadowed by Overlook Mountain, Helm’s barn was to double as a recording studio.

The studio was nearly complete in 1975 when Helm welcomed his first client, Chicago blues great Muddy Waters.  Helm and his business partner songwriter/producer Henry Glover invited some of the A-list musicians to sit in on the sessions with Waters and his touring band.  The result was The Muddy Waters Woodstock Album, released in 1975.  Among the musicians on the album were guitarist Bob Margolin and pianist Willie “Pinetop” Perkins from Muddy’s band, blues-harp monster Paul Butterfield and hot session guitarist Fred Carter as well as Helm and Garth Hudson from the Band.

The album kicks off with “Why Are People Like That,” written by Louisiana singer/songwriter Bobby Charles (who was also living in Woodstock at the time).  Waters wrote five songs his own bad self, including “Born With Nothing” (on which Muddy plays a wicked slide guitar) and “Going Down To Main Street” (with Garth Hudson on accordion).  The accordion wasn’t known as a blues instrument (outside of  Clifton Chenier’s neighborhood, of course) but Hudson turns it into a blistering blues tool, particularly on “Caledonia,” a cover of the hot Louis Jordan tune.

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